Review: Strange Arrivals

Review: Strange Arrivals

Something about the changing of seasons makes me want to dive into spooky. One would think this is more of an autumn phenomenon, but waking up from a nap can be as anticipatory as falling asleep. Some reflections are way too philosophical and spiritual for me to contemplate in a podcast review, but honestly: the gray of spring feels like the gray of fall, and as mist falls over the town, I’d like to be spooked. 

My flavor of spook this month turned out to be aliens. This happened mostly because my partner decided to dip into the writings of Tom DeLonge. If you don’t know, the Blink-182 guitarist also has a considerable interest in UFOs and fringe science. To have some type of dinner-table conversation that didn’t directly involve work, I decided to dip into Strange Arrivals. 

From the Grim and Mild Network and iHeart Radio, Strange Arrivals is a spring series that started in 2020. I’m not sure if there will be a 2024 season, but the 2023 season ran from April to June - so there’s still a little bit of time to see. Even if there are no more seasons, Strange Arrivals is worth getting into if you have a casual, skeptical interest in extra-terrestrials. 

While hosted by Toby Ball, this podcast sits in the philosophical vein of most of Aaron Manhke’s work. It’s a skeptical podcast dedicated to analyzing events. I first visited this podcast back in 2020 but found the weekly release to not work for me. After the first season, you understand the structure of the podcast. That is, to tell a story and then to break it down. While released as a weekly podcast, for me the 30 to 60-ish-minute episodes work best back to back and tied together. 

Each season covers a different aspect of UFO research and exploration. From abductions, experiences, and research, the whole arc almost feels backward - but in a good way. A lot of people know the famous stories, the Betty and Barney Hill abduction for instance. We start with a story, then Toby Ball uses interviews and honest critical thinking to break down each instance. With experts, researchers, and even former counterintelligence agents, the listener is given a rounded overview of what the alien phenomenon is. My favorite season so far was season two, which goes more into extraterrestrials as folklore, starting with The Rehnlesham Forest incident. 

I’m not against the idea of aliens being real. I honestly have a love/hate relationship with the idea of us being alone, or not alone in the universe. The most important thing is to move through these thought processes with more than a grain of salt. If you remember the conspiracy chart by Abbie Richards, it is very easy to get to the “anti-semitic point of no return”. We can have questions about aliens, and we should. 

However, the fact is, as is explored in season 4 of Strange Arrivals, the basis for a lot of extraterrestrial research was done by people who may not have had science in mind first. While we need to be curious, to explore, and to consider, we also need to be diligent. Strange Arrivals does a great job of exploring the UFO/alien culture with understanding and skepticism. 

I got sucked in before I realized: If someone is looking for straight-up spooky, it won’t be here. The design of this podcast has spooky moments, and great dips into the conspiracy of it all. However, being mostly a podcast that uses segments of audio from the heyday of alien research, it’s not quite as spooky as I first intended. Overall, this podcast is informative and interesting, with great storytelling to wrap yourself up in and you untangle the stories being told. 

Listen to Strange Arrivals Here

This probably won't be my last alien podcast, so if you have one you like, drop it in the comments below!

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